BRASILIA, April 18 Brazil's lower house of
Congress on Tuesday approved the main text of a bill granting
debt relief to cash-strapped states that adopt belt-tightening
measures, in a victory for President Michel Temer's austerity
In a late night vote of 301 to 127, lawmakers approved the
bill that allows states to ask for a three-year suspension of
their debt with the federal government if they freeze wages,
increase pension contributions and sell assets.
Votes on proposed amendments to the bill were scheduled for
Late last year, the lower house surprised Temer by scrapping
those austerity requirements, forcing him to reintroduce the
legislation that still needs to clear the Senate.
The bill is key for highly indebted states such as Rio de
Janeiro, which has suffered from falling oil prices and is now
struggling to pay doctors, teachers and police.
The legislation also reduces debt payments and extends the
maturity on 427 billion reais ($137 billion) of debt owed by all
of Brazil's 27 states.
($1 = 3.11 reais)
(Reporting by Alonso Soto and Brad Haynes; Editing by Kim